50 years: Annette Seubert, SP

Sister Rose Annette

As I ponder my last 50 years, my heart is filled with gratitude. I realize my life has been an amazing journey and God has been a faithful God of compassion and mercy. I have been led through valleys and into heights and back to the ordinary in life. Today, I am most aware of the power of God’s grace as the ongoing source of love and transformation in my life.

I eagerly await the something new that continually springs forth and the compelling invitation to become the compassion of God. I hope to respond again, with the enthusiasm of youth, to fall more deeply in love with Jesus and follow his lead as a loving presence of compassion and mercy wherever I may go.

Longs to see the new and the transforming

I long to see the new and transforming things Providence promises for our future, as individuals and as a religious congregation. I enjoy the challenge and richness in engaging in our Sisters of Providence commitment to international, intercultural and intergenerational living, and I hope that the dreams of our newer members will come to fruition. My desire is that I may conclude my jubilee year by beginning a cross-cultural experience as part of our SP mission in El Salvador.

The oldest of four children, I was born in Tallahassee, Fla., on December 12, 1943, to my parents Mathew George Seubert and Kathleen Clara Agnes Crosby/Seubert. By early 1945, my dad was discharged from the U.S. Army and the family moved to Chewelah, Wash., in the Inland Northwest. We lived in this small community until I finished the eighth grade at St. Mary Catholic School. These years were formative for me in my faith and in my desire to serve God.

My call to religious life was nurtured silently as a small seed. I grew up the child of a farmer and loved the outdoors, often following dad in the hay fields. I learned early to milk and drive tractor and was responsible for our animals prior to our move to Sprague, Wash., where dad already had relocated. I attended high school at St. Joseph Academy, graduating there in 1962. It is there that I met the Sisters of Providence.

A tearful departure

Favorite memories of mom were sitting in her lap, listening to Bible stories and, when in primary school, her helping me make a religious habit resembling those of the School Sisters of Notre Dame who taught at St. Mary’s grade school.

I entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence on September 8, 1962, and still remember the tenderness of my mother as she gently wiped the tears from my cheeks. It was a quick departure, with little chance to say goodbye to my family. I am told my youngest sister Rozann, age 3, cried her heart out as they drove away from Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash.

I made first profession with 19 other companions on August 19, 1965, and after completing a bachelor’s degree in 1967 at Seattle University, found myself in Great Falls, Mont., for my first ministry. I worked in the finance office at the College (now University) of Great Falls and later took the position of business manager for St. Thomas Child and Family Center. Afterwards, I studied nursing and later found my real niche in ministry as a hospital chaplain.

As chaplain, I served at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wash., and St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash., where I was director of spiritual care for eleven years and developed and chaired the Ethics Committee. Presently, I serve as chaplain/mission leader at Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane. Chaplaincy has enabled me to be a part of the healing ministry of Jesus and has allowed me to collaborate with committed lay people in the mission of Providence.

Serving in privileged times

I served in religious community leadership for St. Ignatius and Mother Joseph provinces and on the formation team for Western Canada and the United States. Leadership and formation provided unique opportunities to get to know our sisters and to be exposed to a broader view of religious life. These were privileged times of service.

Highlights of my education and ministry were clinical pastoral education at St. Mary Medical Center in San Francisco, studying for my master’s degree in creation spirituality in Oakland, Calif., chairing the development and implementation of the hospice program at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, 1980-81, and being a member of the Mother Joseph Province Leadership Team as we transitioned to a new model of sponsorship for our Providence Health & Services ministries. Other memorable experiences were perpetual profession in June 1970, celebrating my 35th anniversary as a Sister of Providence in Walla Walla in 1998, visiting our mission in El Salvador, and later traveling to Rome on the occasion of the beatification of our foundress, Blessed Emilie Gamelin.

I am grateful for my religious community, friends and co-workers who have sustained me, encouraged me and helped me to grow. I give thanks for my parents, my sisters Rozann and Carolyn and my brother Ed, and their families, who have continually loved and supported me in my vocation. Most of all, I thank God for the ongoing faithfulness and love that blesses me each day.